How to Increase Restaurant Sales in 2022
Starting a restaurant takes passion but building a profit-making business requires strategy. With restaurants currently facing the highest labor cost increase in the last two decades, there needs to be an increased focus on differentiating your restaurant business from the rest. Not to mention, the hospitality industry is still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a space as competitive as the restaurant industry, it's important to engage customers and create an exciting experience to have them coming back for more.
In this article, we will highlight some tried-and-tested tactics to help grow a restaurant business, appeal to more customers, and drive restaurant sales.
1. Excellent Customer Service
Putting customers at the heart of your business can help you deliver an exceptional customer experience and ultimately increase profits. Ensuring your customers enjoy a great time at your restaurant will make them more likely to return as well as recommend your restaurants to friends and family.
When evaluating your business plan, consider ideas and services that truly stand out to your customers or provide them with a unique experience that no other restaurants are providing. This may include improving staff interaction with customers, having live performances on the weekends, offering a new tasting menu every week, and so on. Asking for and incorporating customer feedback also goes a long way in ensuring customers remember your business.
Ultimately, making your customers feel valued is the best way to guarantee they return and also bring in more visitors with them. Repeat customers are also more likely to spend more at your restaurant and try out new offerings.
2. Loyalty Programs And Gift Cards
Loyalty and gift card programs are some of the most effective ways to instill customer loyalty, bring in new customers, and increase revenue. A gift card program allows customers to buy cards that carry a balance to be used at your restaurant, usually at a later date.
Rewarding customers with special benefits, coupons, and gift cards - as a way of saying "thanks" for choosing your business or being repeat customers - is sure to make your customers feel appreciated. In 2019, Starbucks revamped its loyalty program to offer more rewards and attract new consumers. As a result, the coffee chain added 3.1 million loyalty members, a 15% increase, within just three quarters.
Based on customer preferences, you can also offer personalized gift cards or deals to your loyal customers, such as exclusive tasting menus, access to special events, or specific gifts like free desserts or glasses of wine.
Loyalty programs work because they make your customers feel recognized and valued. The gift card market in the U.S. is predicted to grow to over $221 billion by 2024, so now is as good a time as any to integrate gift cards and loyalty programs into your business plan.
Don't forget that gift cards are often bought as, well, a gift. So they're also a form of free advertising and referrals to bring in new customers to your restaurant. And most gift card users spend more than the total on their cards, but even if they spend less than the amount on the card, they are likely to return to not waste the remaining balance. Either way, you get some additional revenue.
Although loyalty programs typically take a lot of effort to craft, using a customer engagement platform like Paystone can help you get started in less than 10 days. With expert tools that help you grow your revenue by increasing customer lifetime value and loyalty, Paystone enables you to create incentive programs your customers will love. You can also design and sell your own custom branded gift cards!
3. Getting Reviews
Customers not only check online for restaurant menus and photos, but they also look for ratings and reviews on sites like Yelp and Google before deciding if they want to visit.
Reviews are a highly effective way for your restaurant to build social proof and attract new customers. You can showcase positive reviews across your website and social media profiles. Positive reviews help improve your local search ranking on Google, increasing your visibility and, as a result, your sales.
Even negative reviews are an opportunity to build better relations with your consumers and improve your services. Responding to negative comments shows potential customers you care and tells existing customers that you value what they have to say about your restaurant.
As many as 84% of customers trust social proof more than anything else. There is indeed nothing that persuades a potential customer more than tons of other customers who had a great experience at your restaurant!
Customers are likely to spend more at restaurants that meet their preferences, so make sure you understand your audience while zeroing down on tactics. It's also important to evaluate which trends you are willing and able to keep up with; for example, self-ordering kiosks are incredibly expensive.
On the other hand, accepting mobile payments is a lot more affordable and can make the payment process super quick and convenient for both you and your customers.
Leverage your strengths and abilities (and these tactics) to successfully differentiate yourself from competitors and increase your restaurant sales in no time!